Sports betting is a form of gambling whereby you place a wager
(bet), on the outcome of a sporting event. The primary intent of
sports betting is to win money. With the exception of spread
betting, a bet will have two possible outcomes. Either you win a
multiple of money based on your original wager, or you lose your
Sporting wagers can be on tournament results, match results or on
events that take place during a match. For example, in a football
game, possible bets include one side to beat another, one side to
win 2-1, one side to be leading at half-time, or a particular
player to score a goal.
A company that provides sports betting services can be called a
bookmaker, bookie or betting agency. A service that provides a
marketplace in which odds are set is called a betting exchange. A
customer who places bets can be called a punter.
When you place a bet on an outcome, you are backing that outcome.
With bookmakers you can only back an outcome, while betting
exchanges enable you to bet both for and against outcomes. A bet
against an outcome is called a lay bet. For example you could lay a
bet against Australia to win a football tournament. Your lay bet
wins if anyone except Australia wins, and loses if Australia does
win the tournament.
Sports betting differs from casino gambling as the probabilities
of winning are not known with sports betting. A bookmaker estimates
the outcome of an event, whereas a casino knows their position with
certainty. This allows punters, via careful analysis and modelling,
to capitalise on sports results.
As Australians, sports betting is an important part of our
Gambling was brought to Australia with the new settlers and
quickly became a popular leisure activity among all social groups.
The pronounced British influence of early gambling such as card
games, two-up and horseracing was complemented during the
nineteenth century by games with Asian and European influences.
Many of the original forms of gambling were initially prohibited.
They were later legalised and are now accessible to adult
Australians on a daily basis.
Horseracing was the first form of organised gambling in
Australia. By the late nineteenth century, horseracing had become a
popular form of entertainment with racetracks in every major town.
Greyhound and harness racing also attracted enthusiastic supporters
but never attained the same popularity as horseracing. Betting
activity was associated with the development of racing, initially
with local bookmakers. By the 1890s the totalisator had been
introduced to racecourses in several states, increasing both track
attendance and interest in betting.
The introduction of PubTAB, FootyTAB and satellite telecasting
through the SKY Channel encouraged market growth during the 1980s
and 1990s. From its inception as a largely community-based leisure
activity, racing and betting have become a multimillion dollar
industry. However, competition from other forms of gambling,
notably casinos and gaming machines, eroded the market share of
racing during the 1990s.
||First organised race meet in Australia (New South
||First Melbourne Cup run in Victoria
||Tote first introduced in Australia (South
||First automatic totalisator machine installed in
Australia (Western Australia)
||Golden Casket lotteries established in Queensland
as the first government-run lottery in Australia
||'SP' bookies flourish in most Australian
||Race meeting and lotteries restricted due to the
Second World War
||Poker machines legalised in licensed clubs in New
||Victoria the first state to legalise TAB off-course
||South Australia the last state to introduce
state-run lotteries following a referendum
||First casino in Australia opened (Tasmania) Minor
gaming introduced in South Australia
||Lotto introduced in South Australia Minor gaming
introduced in Tasmania
||Pools introduced in Victoria TAB introduced in
||Pools introduced in New South Wales, Queensland,
||Lotteries, lotto and gaming machines introduced in
the Australian Capital Territory
||Minor gaming introduced in Victoria Off-course
bookmakers phased out in Tasmania
||Instant lotteries introduced in South Australia
Lotto introduced in Western Australia, Northern Territory
On-course/Off-course bookmakers, Lotteries, pools and minor gaming
introduced in Northern Territory
||Lotto introduced in New South Wales Pools
introduced in the Australian Capital Territory On-course
totalisator and instant lotteries introduced in Northern Territory
First casino opened in the Northern Territory
||Pools introduced in South Australia Lotteries
re-introduced in Tasmania
||Lotto introduced in Queensland Instant lotteries
introduced in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital
||Instant lotteries introduced in New South Wales,
||Instant lotteries introduced in Queensland Pools
introduced in Western Australia
*Source - Australian Gaming Council -
In Australia, the system in which all bets of a particular type
are placed is known as the Tote, after the totalisator which
calculates and displays bets already placed. With the Tote a
bookmaker displays the approximate odds that they believe you will
receive. This approximation is based on the quantities of bets
received to that point. These odds will change, depending on how
much additional money is placed on each outcome. For this reason
you don't know the actual odds you will get until bets are no
longer accepted and the event has commenced. Typically the
bookmaker will remove 10% from the pool as their take.
In contrast, fixed odds betting is a form of wagering where the
punter knows the exact odds they will receive when they place a
bet. Not all punters who bet on the same outcome will receive the
same odds. This is because the odds can shift over time based on
the quantities wagered on each outcome. The bookmaker will actively
price and adjust the odds such that it will make a profit
regardless of the outcome. This is achieved by calibrating the odds
so that the sum of their implied probabilities (discussed in the
next section) exceeds 100%. In a two-outcome bet, if punters bet
heavily on outcome A the bookmaker will reduce the odds on outcome
A and increase the odds on outcome B, while keeping the margin
relatively stable. This shift in odds will induce more betting on
outcome B, which will enable the bookmaker to balance the book.
Note that the bookmaker doesn't necessarily need punters to place
equal wagers on each outcome, it actually needs punters to place
wagers in inverse proportion to the odds on offer.
Fixed odds betting is more risky for the bookmaker than the
Tote, because the profit margin is not guaranteed and the
bookmaker's profit will not be the same for every outcome.
The 'Win' bet is picking the outright winner in a given horse
racing event. This bet type can also be referred to as betting 'on
The 'Place' bet is picking the runner up, or third place finish,
in a given horse racing event. The bet also pays out if the horse
wins the race. This bet pays less than a win bet.
Each Way Bet
An 'each way bet' combines a win and a place on the same
selection. The place odds are derived from the win odds - as
opposed to a 'Win & Place' bet, where the place odds can be set
independently of the win odds.
The stake is applied to each 'line' (for the win portion and the
place portion). If the selection wins, then both the win and the
place dividends are paid. If the selection places, then only the
place dividend will be paid.
The 'Trifecta' bet is picking the exact winner, second place
finisher AND third place finisher in a given race. One can only bet
the Trifecta in one race. Unlike other bets, the Trifecta pays out
well if you can pick the right horses. The pay-out also depends on
the odds facing each horse in the race.
Types include the 'Box Trifecta' which is the first three horses
in any order, and the 'Standout Trifecta' - Picking the winner and
then the next two horses in any order
The "Exacta" bet is picking both the winner and second place
horses, in order, in a given horse racing event. The fact that the
horse bettor must correctly predict the order in which the horses
finish yields a higher pay-out.
The 'Quinella' bet is picking 2 horses, either of which can be
the race winner or second place finisher. Unlike the Exacta bet,
the order in which horses finish doesn't matter. So, if you feel
Horse A and Horse B could be the top two, but you don't know which
one will "exactly" win the race, you bet the Quinella instead. This
bet does not pay-out as much as the Exacta, because the order in
which the horses finish doesn't matter.
The 'Daily Double' bet is picking the winners of any two horse
races. For example, if you feel that Horse 1 will win Race 1, and
Horse 2 will win Race 5, you can bet the Daily Double and get an
increased pay-out for both winners.
The 'Running Double' is similar to a daily double, however you
need to select winners in two consecutive races.
The 'Quadrella' bet is picking the winners of four consecutive
horse races. The manner in which you bet is similar to the 'Daily
double', except you are betting on 4 horses in 4 consecutive races.
The cost of the bet rises exponentially depending on the number of
horses you include.
The 'Straight Six' involves selecting the winners of six
consecutive pre-nominated races.
A 'Multibet' is a bet built from the multiplication of two or
more individual bets.
A 'Multibet' consisting of all possible bet combinations. It
involves up to 12 selections in different events.
A 'Line bet' is a handicap system where punters concede or
receive a start. Also known as 'spread', 'handicap', 'points' or
'point-spread'. For example in a game between the Blues and
Stormers, the line odds could be: Blues (-6.5), Stormers (+6.5)
with each team having odds of 1.92. This bet could apply to a
specific period of the game (e.g. first half in rugby, 3rd quarter
in basketball) or to the full-time result.
An 'Exotic bet' is a bet that doesn't directly concern the final
score line. Examples include the first goal scorer in the fixture,
or the first stoppage in play. This term can also be used to
describe bets on entertainment, finance, and other non-sporting
A 'Margin bet' is a bet on the amount of points (or goals) that
one competitor finishes an event in front of another competitor.
For a rugby game between the Blues and Stormers, a margin bet could
be on the Blues to win by between 1 and 12 points. This bet could
apply to a specific period of the game (e.g. first half in rugby,
3rd quarter in basketball) or to the full-time result.
'Spread betting' is high risk betting where the win or loss is
proportional to the accuracy of the wager. This contrasts with
standard bets that either result in a loss of your wager or a
payout based on the wager odds. The spread is a range of outcomes,
and the bet is whether the outcome will be above or below this
'Arbitrage' in a sports betting context it is a scenario where,
due to a disparity in bookmaker odds, a punter can guarantee a net
profit by backing multiple outcomes.
For horses who have not yet won a race, th e top races being the
Maiden Special Weight races.
A race in which every horse can be bought, or 'claimed' out of
the race. The punter must put in a request prior to the race and
afterwards they are the new owner. This is risky as the previous
owner will claim the prize money and pass the horse on even if the
horse gets injured in the race or even if it dies.
Horses in these races are not for sale however the pay-outs are
normally much higher. There are set conditions and specific weights
the horses must carry. This type of race is typically held for
horses who are non-winners in majority of their races.
The best of all horse races which is restricted only for the top
horses. These races produce the largest pay outs and can be either
local or major races. The top stake races are graded from 1 to 3
with 1 being the best races e.g. Melbourne Cup. There are no
restrictions on these races apart from age and sex.
A race specifically held for 3 year old fillies.
Only 3 year olds may race in a Derby.
A race under one mile in length.
What class are they in? For example, metropolitan meetings are
generally a higher class than country meetings.
How far has the horse been running? What distances has the horse
been successful at?
Has the horse run at the track before?
Tracks can be rated, Wet, Good, Dead, Good and Fast. What
conditions does the horse prefers.
How much additional weight has the horse been carrying? This can
be important for handicapped events.
Some horses have better records running clockwise around a track
and some anticlockwise.
There are three main running styles: front runner, stalker and
closer. A front runner is a horse who runs in the lead or in 2
lengths of the leader. A stalker rarely makes the lead but often
gains momentum to overtake tired front runners. A closer stays
towards the back of the field and sprints home towards the
Who is the trainer? Have they had much success previously?
How much experience do they have? How do they handle their
How are the horse's fitness levels? Are there any injuries?
Analyse the horse's past track record? Do they normally place
quite high or does the horse's placing fluctuate?